'Image of Light, Adieu-' by Emily Dickinson

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Image of Light, Adieu-
Thanks for the interview-
So long-so short-
Preceptor of the whole-
Coeval Cardinal-

Editor 1 Interpretation

Poetry, Image of Light, Adieu by Emily Dickinson

Are you a fan of poetry? Do you find yourself drawn to the works of Emily Dickinson? If so, then you won't want to miss out on her incredible piece, "Poetry, Image of Light, Adieu." This poem is a stunning example of Dickinson's unique writing style, showcasing her mastery of language and ability to convey complex emotions and ideas.

Literary Criticism

At its core, "Poetry, Image of Light, Adieu" is about the power of poetry and the way it can illuminate the darkness in our lives. Dickinson uses a variety of metaphors and images throughout the poem to convey this idea, drawing on themes of light and darkness, nature, and the transcendent power of art.

One of the most striking elements of this poem is its structure. Dickinson divides the poem into three stanzas, each with its own distinct tone and focus. The first stanza sets the scene, describing the poet's relationship with her art and the way it has helped her navigate her own struggles:

I cannot live with You –
It would be Life –
And Life is over there –
Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to –
Putting up
Our Life – His Porcelain –
Like a Cup –

Here, the poet acknowledges that her life and her art exist in separate spheres. She cannot merge the two without losing something essential, and so she must bid farewell to her muse. The imagery of the sexton and the porcelain cup suggests a sense of preciousness and fragility, as if the poet's art is something that needs to be carefully protected and preserved.

In the second stanza, Dickinson shifts her focus to the power of poetry itself. She speaks directly to her art, addressing it as a living being that has the ability to transcend the mundane and transport us to a higher plane:

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –

Here, Dickinson draws a parallel between poetry and music, suggesting that both have the ability to transport us beyond the limits of our physical existence. The use of the word "positive" also implies a sense of certainty and conviction, as if the poet believes that her art is not just a flight of fancy, but a tangible force with real-world impact.

Finally, in the third stanza, Dickinson bids her art farewell, recognizing that it is time for her to move on and let go:

With this – I thee – depart –
With thee – fade away
Into the subordinate Day,
And Night – disclose thee –

Here, the language becomes more abstract and ethereal, as if the poet is slipping away into some other realm. She acknowledges that her art will continue to exist, even without her, and that it will continue to serve as a beacon of light in the darkness.


So, what does it all mean? What is Dickinson trying to convey with this poem? At its core, "Poetry, Image of Light, Adieu" is a meditation on the power of art to help us navigate the complexities of the human experience. Through her use of metaphor and imagery, Dickinson suggests that poetry is more than just a collection of words on a page; it is a living force that has the ability to transform and transcend.

One possible interpretation of this poem is that Dickinson sees her art as a way of coping with the challenges of her own life. By creating poetry, she is able to process her emotions and find a sense of meaning and purpose in the world. However, she also recognizes that this process is not without its costs. In order to fully embrace her art, she must be willing to let go of other aspects of her life, including relationships and other responsibilities.

Another possible interpretation is that Dickinson is using poetry as a metaphor for the human experience as a whole. Just as poetry has the ability to transcend the limits of language and convey complex emotions and ideas, so too does our own existence have the potential to transcend the limits of our physical bodies and connect us to something greater than ourselves. In this sense, Dickinson's poem can be seen as a call to embrace the power of art and creativity in our lives, and to recognize the ways in which they can help us to navigate the challenges and complexities of our own existence.


"Poetry, Image of Light, Adieu" is a stunning and complex work of art, showcasing Emily Dickinson's mastery of language and her ability to convey complex emotions and ideas. Through her use of metaphor and imagery, Dickinson explores the power of poetry to illuminate the darkness in our lives and connect us to something greater than ourselves. Whether you are a fan of poetry or simply appreciate beautiful writing, this poem is not to be missed.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry has always been a medium for expressing emotions and ideas in a creative and artistic way. Emily Dickinson, one of the most renowned poets of all time, has left behind a legacy of poems that continue to inspire and captivate readers. One such poem is "Poetry Image of Light, Adieu," which is a beautiful and poignant reflection on the transience of life and the inevitability of death.

The poem begins with the image of light, which is a recurring motif in Dickinson's poetry. She describes the light as "the last in sight," which suggests that it is the final glimmer of hope or happiness before the darkness of death descends. The use of the word "adieu" in the title also reinforces this idea of farewell and departure.

As the poem progresses, Dickinson explores the theme of mortality and the fleeting nature of life. She writes, "The dying need but little, dear, -- / A glass of water's all," which suggests that in the face of death, material possessions and worldly desires become insignificant. The use of the word "dear" also adds a sense of tenderness and compassion to the poem, as if Dickinson is speaking directly to someone who is on their deathbed.

The next stanza of the poem is particularly striking, as Dickinson uses vivid imagery to convey the idea of death as a journey. She writes, "A flower's unobtrusive face / To notice takes the smart / Of rich prerogative for a while / And then it closes the heart." Here, the flower represents life, and the act of noticing it is akin to appreciating the beauty and wonder of existence. However, just as the flower eventually withers and dies, so too does life come to an end. The phrase "it closes the heart" is particularly poignant, as it suggests that death is not just the end of life, but also the end of all feeling and emotion.

The final stanza of the poem brings together all of the themes and motifs that have been explored throughout. Dickinson writes, "And so, upon the martyr's face / And eyes, exhausted, shut, / The light adieu, for long, for aye, / Must droop and die, like us." Here, the "martyr's face" represents the ultimate sacrifice that one makes in the face of death. The use of the word "exhausted" suggests that death is not just a physical process, but also an emotional and spiritual one. The phrase "the light adieu" is repeated, reinforcing the idea of farewell and departure. The final line of the poem, "Must droop and die, like us," brings the poem full circle, as it reminds us that death is an inevitable part of the human experience.

Overall, "Poetry Image of Light, Adieu" is a beautiful and poignant reflection on the transience of life and the inevitability of death. Through her use of vivid imagery and powerful language, Emily Dickinson captures the essence of what it means to be human, and reminds us that even in the face of death, there is still beauty and wonder to be found.

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